Monday, June 30, 2014

Another Project From My Favorite Jeans

Another fun project out of my old jeans. This is the bottom of the legs. They were a little flared out at the bottom and just the right size for a great project bag tote. To add a little fun I made more of the same flowers I played with yesterday. I had fun with my old button bin finding just the right buttons for each flower. I also added some buttons to the base of the handles. The handles were made of an upcycled belt that was headed to the thrift store. I had bought it at the thrift store because I loved the buckle but it never closed right. I am going to do something else with the buckle.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Upcycled Denim Necklace

This was once my favorite pair for jeans
I have been working on quilting projects for a few months non stop and decided I needed a bit of a break. I love upcycled funky clothes and accessories. Yesterday I walked by the box of donation things for the thrift store and the jeans caught my eye. They are too big because I finally found a great new way to eat. Now there is nothing else wrong with them. I have seen a lot of upcycled denim projects lately on Pinterest lately and decided to pull them out of the box and they went back upstairs to the sewing room. Today I pulled out my old favorite pair that was faded just right, had all the right fraying going on..........just too big. OK well if I can't wear them as jeans how about a bag. I cut off the bottom of the legs for a tote bag which will will post about when it is done. I had my mind on what to wear for the 4th of July and thought about some of the inspirations I had seen surfing the net lately. OK I decided to come up with my own twist. I cut circles of different sizes, some of the darker parts and some of the lighter parts. Did a bit of sewing thru the centers, added a second smaller layer and some old buttons from the button bin. Then I frayed the edges of the pieces a bit.........hey I love my jeans with a frayed and lived in look! I sewed the bigger three onto a backing and then just sewed the smaller two onto the ribbon and called it done. I think this will be a fun Summer casual look with a grey t-shirt and my new favorite jeans..............and maybe my denim tote when I finish that.

Two Improv Quilts Finished

Over The Limit II
 I managed Three finishes for June. The first one was the Scrappy Trip Around the World I posted already. The Over The Limit series is something I have tried in two colorways so far. I actually decided to quilt the second one in the series first because I liked the bright vibrant colorway of the orange and blue. The quilting looks very simple and straightforward but it took forever. There were many stops and starts and Five thread color changes. Since I bury all my thread tails that made for lots of knotting and pulling those thread tails under the layers.
Over The Limit II (closeup)
 The next quilt is called Energy. It was the first thing that I stared in the past four years. I made it for a challenge for the Arizona Quilt Retreat in Phoenix. The rules were very simple. The shapes had to be 2" by 2" or 4" or 6" or 8".  I had been looking at lots of improv quilts on Pinterest and found a few inspiration pieces. I loved the bright orange and deep blue colorway. I began by cutting the blue pieces. I pulled out fabrics and just cut the sizes above. Then I cut a series of orange and began laying things out till I liked the way it looked.

                     Energy (closeup)

The quilting on Energy was really fun. I quilted lines across the blue. They are not spaced evenly........consistantly inconsistant. Some are only 1/8" apart. Then I did a swirling spike like little suns in the orange. I really love how this one came out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Finding Your Creative Voice

Sometimes you have to be silent for some time to find your artistic voice. I have always loved creating things. With life events I had to step back from my creativity for a few years. It is the coming back that is exciting. When you have not done much in the way of creativity in some time you can begin again, but with a new prospective. This year I began my new series of Improv quilts. These are not about traditional, they are about color, shape and feeling. I really like how this one is starting to come together. I am very excited about what is beginning to happen with this new kind of work. It is no longer about thinking outside of the box. I forgot where I left the box and what the box was about. Instead I am thinking of spontaneous creation of color, shape and ideas. I really love this series of Over The Limit. It is really a variation of a very old traditional design called Drunkard's Path. Over The Limit is a more modern phrase for drunkenness.

The piece above is on the Longarm and is in progress. Only the top row has any quilting on it. I have continued to work on this and now all the blocks have quilting. I am slowly adding more quilting and more color with the threads. I not only enjoyed the piecing of this, but am now enjoying the spontaneity of the quilting process as well. This kind of quilting is new to me and I am really just making it up as I go. The color is really there, now it is about feeling and movement. I love the direction this is moving.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My First Finish For 2014

My goal this year is to work on my UFO's and finish as many of them as I can. In addition to this I am also working on a series of Improv and modern quilts. The very first finish of the finish for this year is a new project that I just started a few weeks ago! I find that kind of ironic. The thing is that I have been working steadily on my UFO and Improv pile. I kind of got distracted and wanted to work on something new. I had found Bonnie Hunters Scrappy Trip Around The World and thought they looked really beautiful. I figured this might be a good way to use fabric I no longer love. See I had been sorting fabric and came across some I just did not want to look at any more. So I forged ahead and began a new project. I also did a bit of soul searching and realized that I have so many UFOs because I get tired of things and put them aside to begin a new project. After about the first 12 blocks I was getting tired of working with this fabric selection. I did not like it and wanted to do something different. Over on my friend Judy pointed out that she starts a project and does not do anything else till she has it finished. OK I vowed to try to emulate Judy so I pressed on. The quilt was going to be much bigger but it occurred to me I really did not want it on the bed so I stopped at 20 squares, found some blue fabric that would work for a border and called it done. It is a nice topper size for the bed or a great couch throw.
Now for the back story. I did not really have yardage of anything to use on the back so I found some fabric in inherited from my aunt and pieced two large hunks of it with some leftover strips I had cut for the front. I actually love the back and think it is kinda fun.

This is also the first quilt I have quilted on my long arm in 4 years. I have my quilting business back up and running. It is great to be working on the Gammill again! I forgot how much I enjoyed making tops into quilts.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Energy Sneak Peek

I am always amazed at the transformation a top undergoes once it is quilted. I really love this little improv quilt I call "Energy". It was made for a challenge using only pieces that were two inches wide by two, four, six and eight inches long. Those were the rules. I went non traditional and modern. This was the first thing I had pieced in about four years and it was very fun to make. I love the deep blues against the bright rich oranges. The top did well in the challenge, it got second place.

A top is kind of like a blank sheet of paper waiting for a drawing. There are so many possibilities. The color is there but there are no lines to define the color and space. Trying to decide what to quilt can be daunting. I decided to go with closely spaced lines. Keep in mind that the strips in the photo are only two inches wide so those lines are pretty close together. I like the random look of unevenly spaced lines as I think it adds more interest. I wanted to create some energy in the orange so I went with my allover swirl with long flowing spikes coming form them like little suns. I really enjoyed the process of quilting this little piece. The finished quilt is about 24x48 and meant as wall art. I put on the binding yesterday and now just need to hand stitich that in place, add a hanging sleeve and a label. Hopefully I will have that done quickly as would love to hang this up where I can enjoy it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

TA DA!!!!!

 Final pass of quilting, made it to the border on the bottom..........almost there.
I am very excited! I got my longarm going again. I had a quilt loaded on there and unfinished for over 4 years. I had decided to work outside the house and got a job..........well they worked me into the ground and the new boss who is crazy was the final straw. My last day will be this Wednesday.

I am going to start up my quilting service again and maybe do a few other things till that takes off. I finished up the little project I had loaded last weekend. Ok it was a practice piece. It was junk fabric top and bottom and I was practicing an allover feather meander and we going to use the finished piece as a dog bed. It was left on the machine half done. Now this is really  a good thing as once I got the machine fired up last weekend I had to finish the quilting so I got to practice my allover feather meander again. It came out ok for not having done any freehand quilting in so long.

This morning I unloaded that little practice piece and loaded the Scrappy Trip Around The World I had started a few weeks ago. I was just happy to get it loaded. Then I decided to do some quilting. I took quite a few breaks during the day. I did my allover swirl which is a freehand design that was the most requested allover design for my quilting business. For the very first time in over 4 years it was not bad. I will be doing another quilt with this design as soon as I can get that back pieced. I am hoping for next weekend.

My next piece on the Longarm is going to be one of my Improv pieces. I have decided on the blue and orange one I am calling Energy. The quilting will be really simple so it should go really fast.

Now to trim up my finished quilt, decide on a binding and get that put on. Almost there!